Category: True Blood

'True Blood' to get Mark Hudis as show runner for possible Season 6

Alan Ball"True Blood" hasn't yet been renewed by HBO for a sixth season -- Season 5 premieres June 10 -- but barring the Mayan-predicted end of the world in 2012, Sookie, Bill and the rest of the vampires, werewolves and fairies of Bon Temps will doubtless be back for more next summer. With one big difference: They'll have a new show runner guiding their adventures.

Series creator Alan Ball announced last summer that the fifth season of the show would be his last as show runner, but he's not leaving the world of vampires completely. He's staying on as executive producer, but co-executive producer Mark Hudis will be stepping up to the boss' seat.

Hudis has a long history with Ball; they worked together on the sitcom "Cybill" back in 1997. He joined the vampire drama during the show's fourth season.

Ball, meanwhile, is going on to develop his new crime series "Banshee" for Cinemax and his medical drama "Wichita" for HBO. Ball remains under a multi-year contract with HBO.


'True Blood' and 'The Newsroom' to air on HBO in June

Alan Ball stepping down as showrunner

'True Blood's' Alan Ball will have a new series -- on Cinemax

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Alan Ball, right, Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin on the set of "True Blood" during its first season. Credit: HBO.

'True Blood' creator Alan Ball stepping down as showrunner

Alan ball stepping down true blood
Has “True Blood’s” Alan Ball stopped seeing red?

HBO announced that the creator of the bloodthristy drama is stepping down as showrunner, though he will remain involved with the series, if it continues.

"When we extended our overall deal with Alan Ball in July 2011, we always intended that if we proceeded to True Blood’s sixth season that Alan would take a supervisory role on the series and not be the day-to-day showrunner," said HBO's statement. "If we proceed to season six, the show will remain in the very capable hands of the talented team of writers and producers who have been with the show for a number of years.  This is the best possible world for both HBO and Alan Ball.  Alan will remain available as executive producer to consult and advise on True Blood and he will be free to develop new shows for both HBO and Cinemax.  Banshee, on which Alan serves as executive producer, is the first in house series for Cinemax and is expected to begin production this spring."

Ball, who created and wrote ‘Six Feet Under” and the big screen’s “American Beauty” before taking on "True Blood," said in a statement, "True Blood has been, and will continue to be, a highlight of not only my career but my life.  Because of the fantastic cast, writers, producers and crew, with whom I have been lucky enough to work these past five years, I know I could step back and the show will continue to thrive as I look forward to new and exciting ventures."


Ball had previously hinted that his time on the show would inevitably come to an end. During the show’s panel at last year’s Television Critics Assn. press tour, he told reporters, “Well, everything ends,” before announcing he’d return for a fifth season. “There will be an end for me on the show at some point. I just closed a deal to do another season. I don’t have any desire to leave because I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life.”


TCA 2011: 'True Blood' creator Alan Ball to return for fifth season

Bringing the pain: Top TV dramas have a blood thing going on

Nelsan Ellis on 'True Blood' finale: Fans are going to be upset

— Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Alan Ball. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press.

Bringing the pain: Top TV dramas have a blood thing going on

A savage scene in "Breaking Bad"

Many of TV's most popular series, such as "The Walking Dead," "True Blood" and "Dexter," are known for high drama and high body counts. Spatter and gore are essential — and expected — parts of their DNA.

But extreme, sometimes unflinching acts of graphic, stomach-churning violence have also been spilling over into an unexpected arena: TV's elite dramas. "Breaking Bad," "Boardwalk Empire," "Sons of Anarchy" and other shows praised for their complex plots and high production values have lately displayed a new level of savagery.

For more on this trend, read this feature and let us know what you think.


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— Greg Braxton

Photo: Gustavo Fring (GIancarlo Esposito) dons plastic overalls as he prepares to slash the throat of an accomplice with a box cutter on AMC's "Breaking Bad." Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC.




Thursday's TV Talk Shows

Click here to download TV listings for the week of Sept. 18 - 24 in PDF format

TV listings for the week of Sept. 18 - 24 in PDF format (from

Weekly TV Listings and more can be found at:

This week's TV Movies

Today Brad Pitt; Maria Bello; Whitney Cummings; Mark Bittman; Harry Connick Jr. (N) 7 a.m. KNBC 

Good Morning America Minka Kelly; Maury Povich; Ty Pennington. (N) 7 a.m. KABC 

Rachael Ray Donnie Wahlberg. (N) 8 a.m. KCAL 

Live With Regis and Kelly Taylor Lautner; Céline Dion; Minka Kelly. (N) 9 a.m. KABC 

The View Seth Myers; Clinton Kelly; Dyan Cannon. (N) 10 a.m. KABC 

The Talk William Baldwin and Chynna Phillips; Jermaine Jackson; Molly Shannon and Kris Jenner. (N) 1 p.m. KCBS 

The Doctors Three couples try to beat three addictions in three days. (N) 2 p.m. KCBS 

Dr. Phil Taylor Armstrong discusses the suicide of her husband. (N) 3 p.m. KCBS 

The Dr. Oz Show A guest strives to be the heaviest woman on Earth. (N) 3 p.m. KABC 

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Brad Pitt and Chris Pratt; Kelly Clarkson performs. (N) 4 p.m. KNBC 

Tavis Smiley Tom Friedman, Calvin Trillin. (N) 11 p.m. KOCE 

Charlie Rose (N) 11 p.m. KVCR; midnight KOCE 

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.). (N) 11 p.m. Comedy Central 

Chelsea Lately Rachel Bilson; Bobby Lee. (N) 11 p.m. E! 

Conan Jonah Hill; John Noble. (N) 11 p.m. TBS 

Late Show With David Letterman Dakota Meyer; Sofia Vergara; Chris Cornell performs. (N) 11:35 p.m. KCBS 

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Jamie Foxx; Michelle Monaghan; Bush performs. (N) 11:35 p.m. KNBC 

Jimmy Kimmel Live Ellen Pompeo; Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro; Daryl Hall. (N) midnight KABC 

The Late Late Show Billy Gardell. (N) 12:37 a.m. KCBS 

Late Night Julianna Margulies; Wyatt Cenac. (N) 12:37 a.m. KNBC 

Last Call With Carson Daly TV producer Doug Ellin; Kreay-
shawn and Atmosphere perform. (N) 1:36 a.m. KNBC

'True Blood' recap: The witch is dead and so is...


Nan Flanagan, Debbie Pelt, Jesus and possibly Tara! The body count for Sunday's Season 4 finale of "True Blood" was high by nearly any measure and certainly full of surprises, like, say the fact that Steve Newlin's back -- and he's a vampire! -- not to mention that Russell Edgington sure seems to have managed to worm his way out of that concrete grave that Bill and Eric had confined him to at the end of last year... 

The most heart-wrenching loss, clearly, is that of Jesus (because there's no way that Tara won't pull through, but more on that later). Things began to look not so good for Lafayette's magically inclined boyfriend as soon as the episode opened. He sincerely apologizes to Lafayette for dragging him into a world of magic before he was ready, totally unaware that Marnie's spirit has taken possession of Lafayette and has big plans to use his physical body to continue her vengeance tour through Bon Temps.

When Jesus encourages Lafayette to eat his breakfast, the nurse ends up with a fork through his hand, and he's next seen tied to a chair with Marnie/Lafayette torturing him, demanding he surrender his supernatural powers to her. Frustrated, he tells her that you "can't trade magic like Pokeman cards," but Marnie threatens to kill Lafayette unless Jesus complies. (Just as an aside, can we take a moment to say how fantastic Fiona Shaw and Nelsan Ellis were on the show this season? Seriously, well done.)

Continue reading »

Nelsan Ellis on 'True Blood' finale: Fans are going to be upset

Nelsan Ellis True Blood

"True Blood" is gearing up for the finale of its fourth season Sunday night, and actor Nelsan Ellis, who plays flamboyant, forthright medium Lafayette Reynolds, promises that it will be one to remember -- and not just in terms of momentous events for his character and his partner Jesus, played by Kevin Alejandro. 

"The finale turns Bon Temps upside down," the actor said, speaking recently by phone from New York, where he was shooting a feature film tentatively titled "Gods Behaving Badly." "Lafayette and Jesus are directly in the middle of it, and it doesn't end well. No finale in the history of 'True Blood' has been worse than this one in terms of the cliffhangers. People are going to be [upset] because they're going to have to wait like seven months before they figure out what materializes after this finale."

By the end of last week's episode, "Soul of Fire," Lafayette found himself possessed by the spirit of the recently dispatched witch Marnie (Fiona Shaw), who's more than likely to use his body to her own evil ends as she seeks to eradicate vampires not just from Bon Temps but also from the world at large.

Lafayette's newfound abilities to communicate with the dead -- and occasionally host them in his body -- has offered Ellis a number of exciting opportunities to play an even wider range of scenes than usual. But he said when he first learned about his new gift, he wasn't initially that thrilled.

"Honestly, I was like, 'Why can't I get a cool gift?' " he said. "When they told me I was a medium, I was like, OK, like Whoopi Goldberg in 'Ghost'? That was my first impression. But for an actor it's pretty good being a medium because you can portray other people. Alan Ball, he's good at challenging his actors, I'll say that."

Continue reading »

'True Blood' recap: Soul survivors


You just knew Marnie wasn't going to be dispatched quite that easily. In "Soul or Fire," Sunday's penultimate episode of "True Blood's" fourth season, Bill might have managed to take down the witch's body, but she's still hanging around in spirit.

Not that it was so easy for the vampires to get access to Marnie/Antonia and the coven at all. Though Bill, Jessica, Eric and Pam approach the MoonGoddess Emporium with serious weaponry in hand, intending to blow up the whole place and anyone inside, Jason appears and tells them that Sookie is being held captive (along with the others). Instantly, Bill and Eric decide to switch gears, though Pam makes it plain that she's still on board with the original plan, whether Sookie dies or not. Meanwhile, Marnie/Antonia tells the coven that the vampires are coming, Casey panics and tries to leave, only to wind up with a dagger in her chest. Her death outrages Antonia, who leaves Marnie's body, shocked that the witch would kill an innocent member of their own group. However, Marnie binds Antonia to her and, like the other members of the coven, the spirit of the necromancer is powerless to leave.

Stymied by the protective barrier that surrounds the emporium, the vampires are desperate to find a way to either breach the supernatural fence (which is essentially concentrated sunlight) or, alternately, hit upon some way to draw Marnie out to them. They fend off an attack by the sheriffs under Marnie's spell, and at that point, she opts to negotiate. Specifically, she offers to let Sookie go free in exchange for Bill and Eric's lives. They agree to her terms, but Pam, determined to save Eric, disobeys her master, grabs their rocket launcher and fires, the grenade hitting the force field. Fire ricochets back out, burning Jason severely. Jessica heals him with her blood, and a furious Eric orders Pam away. 

Inside, Marnie casts a spell that begins to draw the vampires toward the barrier against their will, but Sookie uses her fairy magic to disband the circle and save them. In retaliation, Marnie conjures a circle of fire around a terrified Sookie. Fortunately, though, Jesus works some magic of his own, just in the nick of time. Using Casey's body, some herbs and some keen assistance from Lafayette, he performs a blood ritual that unbinds Antonia's spirit from Marnie's body. Her liberation undoes Marnie's power. The fire around Sookie is snuffed out, the force field comes down and the vampires enter the Emporium. Roy tries to stand in front of Marnie to protect her, but Eric rips out his heart. Bill shoots Marnie and she slumps to the floor dead, just as she had foreseen minutes earlier in a dark premonition.

Although he's healed, Jason knows that he's destined for more pain (and heartbreak) if he pursues his feelings for Jessica, but he admits that she's the only object of his thoughts. Sookie, too, looks longingly at Bill and Eric, confused by her love for the two vampires. Perhaps she'd be better off with a werewolf -- after all, Alcide's available since things are now officially over between Debbie and him, their relationship imploding thanks to a single, violent altercation between Alcide and Marcus.

The untrustworthy pack master abducts Emma from school, and a distraught Luna shows up at his garage frantically looking for them. Instead, she finds Sam and Alcide, who are, of course, also trying to track down Marcus so that Sam can avenge Tommy's murder. Emma then phones Luna from Alcide's house, where Marcus is trying to convince a reluctant Debbie to come away with him and the little girl to start a new life; Alcide recognizes the number and they immediately head to his home.

Alcide, Sam and Luna burst in and take Emma outside, with Sam and Alcide heading upstairs, where they catch a scantily clad Debbie in Marcus' arms. Sam beats the werewolf almost to death, but it's Alcide who finishes the job, crushing the packmaster's windpipe to prevent him from shooting Sam with his own gun. He then makes it quite plain to a sobbing Debbie that their relationship is over and done with.

And there's more romantic trouble on the horizon for some of the other Bon Temps locals, it seems. On his way home through the woods, Andy encounters a beautiful fairy. The pair make love and she disappears, leaving him to wonder if it was just the V leaving his system (as Arlene suggests) or whether he experienced some true magic. Chances are that encounter is going to have serious future consequences.

But perhaps not as serious as what awaits Lafayette and Jesus, who feels responsible for Marnie's death despite Lafayette's attempts to put his mind at ease. As the pair drifts off to sleep, Lafayette opens his eyes and sees Marnie floating above him only moments before she takes possession of him. And that, naturally, is going to spell trouble.

-- Gina McIntyre

 Photo: Fiona Shaw as Marnie/Antonia in "True Blood" Credit: HBO

'True Blood' recap: Kill Bill Volume 2


Eric's memory has returned! In "Burning Down the House," Sunday's episode of "True Blood," the Viking became himself once more, thanks to a powerful blast of Sookie's fairy magic. But what should have been one of the most climactic events of the season, played, well, a little anticlimactic. Maybe there were just too many other things to sort out what with the Festival of Tolerance degenerating into a Festival of Bloodletting, Jason and Jessica sorting through the ramifications of their pickup truck hook up, Marnie and Antonia reaffirming their spiritual alliance and, of course, Tommy dying at his brother's side.

Turns out, naturally, that Bill was right. They probably should have canceled the tolerance event. It's the place where Sookie, desperate to protect Bill from Eric, summons her own mysterious power and aims it squarely at Eric, restoring his memory (which happens to include all the details of their time together this season). Looking to protect herself and her acolytes from the melee, Antonia vanishes, retreating back to the MoonGoddess Emporium with Roy and two of Bill's vampire sheriffs, both of whom are under her spell.

Bill takes charge, insisting that the vampires go after the necromancer before she can inflict any more damage, while Nan dispatches minions to glamor any humans who might have witnessed the carnage. His plan? Blow up the emporium with Antonia/Marnie and the remainder of her coven (including Tara and Holly) still inside.

Back at Bill's, Jason tries to deal with his regret over sleeping with Jessica. He tells her that their being together will break Hoyt's heart, and Jason asks her to glamor him so that he won't feel guilty. Probably not the best way to make a girl feel loved. Things go from bad to worse later on, though, when a distraught Hoyt shows up at Jason's place, crying into his beer and counting on his best friend for some solace. Instead, he finds a twitchy Jason who later complains to Sookie about how poorly Hoyt's handling his grief over losing Jessica, asking if he can maybe stay with his sister that evening in order to avoid his glum buddy.

Sookie, of course, is dealing with complicated feelings of her own. Eric professes his love to her, but grows a little irritable when she tells him that she still cares for Bill too. But Sookie being Sookie, she sets her romantic woes aside and hatches a plan to help free Tara, recruiting Jason and turning to Lafayette and Jesus for even more help.

As Nan, Bill, Jessica, Eric and Pam are all silvered at Bill's for the day, Sookie and her counterparts turn up outside the Emporium, Sookie listening in to ascertain exactly who might be trapped inside with Tara. Although Antonia has cast a spell to clear the neighborhood and put up strong magical protections to ward off any attacks on her headquarters, Jesus believes that if he can reach Marnie, he might be able to draw out Antonia as he did with Mavis. He does manage to breach the magical defenses, not without some great difficulty and a moment in which he turns into a horned demon.

His perseverance and talent impress Antonia, who allows him inside and grants him an audience with Marnie. He's surprised to learn, though, that Marnie is thrilled about her "union" with Antonia and the new-found power she wields. As she's showing him the two vampires under her influence, Holly and Tara are working some magic of their own, casting a spell that enables them to flee the confines of the store and make a break for the safety of the outside world. Sookie and Lafayette run toward them, but Antonia/Marnie appears and they all vanish in a flash of golden light, leaving Jason standing alone and confused out in the open.

Speaking of brothers left alone, let's have a moment of silence for young Tommy, the shifter with the poorest judgment in Louisiana. Alcide is driving him to the hospital, but he asks the werewolf to take him to Merlotte's instead. Sam arrives on the scene and tries to comfort him as he dies. There's no comforting Sam, though, who vows to kill Marcus for taking his brother's life. Alcide doesn't seem to object much, helping Sam track down one of the men who beat Tommy.

Alcide might be even more helpful to Sam if he knew that Luna's ex was at that moment putting the moves on Debbie. She complains to the leader of the pack that Alcide is too much of a loner and doesn't want a family the way that she does, and he tells her that maybe it's time she hooked up with another wolf. (Marcus might be the Alpha, but there's no way Alcide would lose that fight.)

Terry and Andy got in some serious bonding time, too. After Terry and Arlene confront him about his V addiction, Andy heads with Terry to "Fort Bellefleur," the tree house where they played as children -- and where apparently Terry lived for some time after coming back from the war. Terry takes Andy shooting, telling him that he needs to admit to the fact that he's an addict. Old wounds come pouring out, the men fight, but in the end, Andy does recognize what his life has become and vows to make the first steps toward recovery. Still, Terry forces Andy to walk home. 

The episode concludes with a black combat-clad quartet of Bill, Jessica, Eric and Pam preparing to lay siege to the emporium that night with some serious firepower.

Again, who's happy Eric's back? Leave your comments below.

Until next week...


True Blood: Full Showtracker coverage

-- Gina McIntyre

Photo: The vampire commando unit -- Eric, Pam, Jessica and Bill in Sunday's episode of "True Blood" Credit: HBO


'True Blood' recap: Kill Bill, Volume 1

Stephen Moyer in True Blood

Sookie's amusing sex dream in which she considers a romantic life involving both Bill and Eric might have been the most salacious component of Sunday's installment of "True Blood," but the episode, "Let's Get Out of Here" also saw a serious ratcheting up of tensions in the brewing war between the vampires and the witches. Namely, Antonia reveals her plan to use Eric to kill Bill in front of a crowd of onlookers and TV news crews.  

The action begins as last week's cemetery showdown comes to a close. Alcide rushes a wounded Sookie home, but Bill overtakes them and gives his ex his own blood to help her heal from the gunshot that nearly killed her. Frustrated when Sookie comes to and begins chastising the boys for not running out to immediately search for Eric, the werewolf heads home to Debbie, who's lying in bed watching "Cheaters."

The witches bring docile Eric (or, as Antonia calls him, "blond one") back to the Moon Goddess Emporium, where she informs her coven of her intention to disrupt the following evening's Festival of Tolerance ceremony in Shreveport. In anticipation of the big event, Nan Flanagan has arrived at Bill's place, where she intends to spend the day, but she's confronted with a sobbing Jessica, who's pouring her heart out about her breakup with Hoyt. Nan, unsurprisingly, is less than sympathetic.

The Cheat Sheet: Who's who in 'True Blood' Season 4

She's also less than ecstatic about the fact that she must be bound in silver in Bill's cell -- along with Jessica and the king -- to protect herself against any spells the witches might cast summoning them out into the sunlight. She and Bill argue, with Nan telling him that his request to cancel the Tolerance event is out of the question.

Continue reading »

'True Blood' recap: Eric and Sookie get steamy

Alexander Skarsgard and Anna Paquin as Eric and Sookie in 'True Blood'

Eric and Sookie in the shower.

In Sunday's episode of "True Blood," "Spellbound," written by Alan Ball, one of the most talked about fan favorite moments from Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries made it to the screen -- just as Ball had promised an audience at San Diego's Comic-Con International in July. The cryptic show runner had hinted that his version of the famous love scene between the two characters would possibly be "weirder and dirtier" than what was in the book, in this case, "Dead to the World," the fourth of Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels. And well, it was weirder, or should we say trippier, given that Eric and Sookie were high on each others' blood and hallucinating?

But first things first. Jason bursts through the door to subdue Jessica before she can be consumed by the sunlight, having been lured out of her usual daytime slumber by the witches' powerful curse. Jessica regains control over herself and, realizing Jason just saved her life, kisses him. He brings her downstairs to Bill, who is still bound in silver. Concerned that the coven might have only temporarily broken the spell, Bill instructs Jason to bind Jessica with silver until nightfall. Trying to distract her from the pain, the perennially clueless Jason tells Jessica to think about good things -- like hot summer days, barbecuing. He means well, anyway.

Bill comes to the rescue and gives Jason his cue to go, telling him that he and Jessica need to get a bit of rest. Bill and Jason agree that no one should really hear about the murdered guard, or for that matter, the other guard that Jason shot outside when he was racing toward the house to rescue our favorite redhead (other than Arlene, of course).

Shreveport pack master Marcus instructs his werewolves to stay out of the brewing war between the vampires and the witches, lest they end up dead. It's a message Alcide endorses; Marcus points out that Alcide has a certain amount of Alpha in him and that he could move up in the pack if he wanted. On their way home, Debbie makes Alcide promise that he'll stay away from Sookie. It's a promise he naturally breaks.

Sam goes to see Luna to tell her that he's thrown Tommy out of his life for good, but, of course, Tommy is still determined to cause trouble. He breaks into Maxine's house and steals enough of her belongings to be able to pose as her (thanks to his new "skinwalking" abilities). In his Maxine disguise, he meets with the rep trying to secure the lease rights to the natural gas that's been found on her property, but can't manage to wrangle an especially flattering deal.

Even with things back on track with Luna, though, Sam has a new set of brewing problems after Marcus turns up at her place and expresses his displeasure at Sam dining with his ex and his little girl.

Back at Sookie's, Eric convinces her to remove the silver chains from around his neck, but his ability to heal has been compromised by the fact that he hasn't fed since he drank Claudine's fairy blood. Sookie offers him a True Blood, but they both realize that's not going to do the trick. Sookie lets him feed from her, and Eric bites into his own palm, offering her his blood -- though at first Sookie seems confused, given that she's not injured. He simply tells her "we will be one" and she takes his hand in hers and drinks. Intoxicated, they find their way to the shower, and then onto the bed they envision lying just outside Sookie's bathroom, where it appears to be snowing in the daylight.

Honestly, it's no wonder Andy's so addicted to V.

Det. Bellefleur is, in fact, so addicted that he struggles not to lick up the remains of vampire Beulah Carter, Maxine's neighbor, who clearly did not get the memo about chaining herself up in silver. Arriving at the crime scene, Jason scolds him and tells him to get a grip. Bill, too, arrives, telling the one television reporter on hand that "vampire suicides" such as Beulah's are all too common, what with all the anti-vampire sentiment in the world -- then glamoring her to make sure he gets plenty of time on camera to spread that message.

He also manages to persuade Antonia, who is at the Moon Goddess Emporium with Tara, to agree to a midnight meeting at the Bon Temps cemetery in the hopes of bringing about a peaceful resolution to their dispute. That meeting, though, turns out to be anything but peaceful.

The confrontation begins when both Bill and Antonia reveal that they have not come alone -- Sookie, Eric and Pam are backing Bill; Tara and the other witches are backing Antonia. Bill promises that the vampires will do her or her coven no harm; in return he asks her to remove the spells from his two subjects who are present. Sookie listens in to Antonia's thoughts and learns that she's casting a spell even during their conversation. She calls out, prompting Bill to bring in his human backup. And that's when things really escalate.

Eric kills ... someone? Tara does too, only moments before she runs into Pam, who seems determined to take the opportunity to exact her revenge. But Bill commands her not to harm Tara, now or ever. When Tara asks Bill why he saved her, he responds simply, "You know why." Hmmm.

Meanwhile, Eric is gorging himself on blood, and Sookie saves herself from an attack with her "microwave fingers." But those fairy powers can't ward off the bullet that enters her abdomen, calling both Eric and Bill to her side. Bill is silvered before he can reach her and Antonia blocks Eric's path, casting a spell that leaves the viking docile and kneeling before her. Leaving Alcide to carry Sookie to safety. We hope.

There were two other major confrontations: Between the strange spirit who drops by to serenade baby Mikey and Lafayette, and between Jessica and Hoyt. Lafayette dreams about the spectral woman and learns that she had an infant son who was murdered by the baby's own father, a married white man, in an attempt to cover up the child's existence. Moments after Lafayette wakes up, she takes possession of his body. (We also hear some interesting background murmurings about Steve Newlin's disappearance ... might the reverend be found soon?)

And sadly, Jessica and Hoyt's relationship is over. After a heartbreaking fight in which Hoyt rescinds her invitation to their home, Jessica turns to Jason, who, flustered by his feelings for his best friend's now-ex-girlfriend, uninvites her from his place, too. Still, it seems like just a matter of time before she'll be asked back -- Jason isn't exactly the best about staying away from a pretty girl, even one likely to get him into massive amounts of trouble.

But back to that shower scene for just one moment. Given all the anticipation about how that might have played out, what do you say, Team Eric? Are you thrilled? Disappointed? Please leave your comments below.


 True Blood: Full Showtracker coverage

Stephen Moyer on the Eric/Sookie romance

Alan Ball: Vampires are just a huge metaphor for sex

-- Gina McIntyre

Photo: Eric and Sookie offer Bill some help in Sunday's episode of "True Blood" Credit: HBO

'True Blood' will return for fifth season

HBO will add a 12-episode fifth season to  'True Blood,' its supernatural vampire series.

The adventure of Sookie and Bill will continue: HBO said Thursday morning that it has renewed "True Blood" for a fifth season.

HBO brass said that the new season of the supernatural vampire series would be a 12-episode run that will begin production this year and air next summer.

The announcement was not a surprise -- creator and executive producer Alan Ball told reporters at the Television Critics Assn. recently that he expected his deal as showrunner to be sealed soon.

Still, it will cast a different light on the current season, reassuring viewers worried about the prospect of Ball leaving after this season that there would be further adventures in Bon Temps.

Ball said at TCA that he "[doesn't] have any desire to leave because I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life." He also said the new season will look at the origins of at least one of the vampires as well as  large mythology.

The longer-term future, of course, remains a question. Ball, who did say at TCA that "everything ends," worked on "Six Feet Under" for six seasons.

And Ball will be busy: He has also signed on to executive produce the show "Banshee" at HBO's sister network Cinemax.


Show Tracker: True Blood

True Blood's Alan Ball will have a new series--on Cinemax

TCA: True Blood creator Alan Ball will return for fifth season

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: "True Blood." Credit: HBO

'True Blood's' Alan Ball will have a new series -- on Cinemax

EXCLUSIVE: Alan Ball has one of the most popular shows on cable with HBO's "True Blood." Now he could be a double threat via HBO's sister network.
The creator will executive produce a new series called "Banshee" that will serve as a key plank in Cinemax's original programming push.

The series will be set in a small town in Pennsylvania Amish Country (the titular Banshee), according to a person who was briefed on the project, and feature an enigmatic ex-con who's also an expert in martial arts. Darkly comic in tone, the show will have the ex-con posing as a murdered sheriff, imposing his own brand of justice while also cooking up plans that serve his own interests. Unlike the sagas of Sookie Stackhouse, there will be no supernatural element to the series.

Cinemax is working out financing and casting details with the hope of shooting this spring, said the person familiar with the plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the project publicly. Ball is developing the series with writers Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler, who brought the idea to him. The trio, along with actor Peter Macdissi, will all serve as executive producers. A Cinemax spokesman later confirmed the "Banshee" news.

"Banshee" is not expected to affect Ball's schedule on 'True Blood." Ball recently told the Television Critics Assn. that he's close to a deal for a fifth season of the Anna Paquin-Stephen Moyer vampire show. The fourth season is currently airing on HBO.

The addition of Ball, an A-list name with a prestige pedigree (thanks to "Blood" as well as longtime Emmy darling "Six Feet Under") gives a boost to Cinemax as it seeks to become a player in the scripted game. "Banshee" was initially set up at HBO but moved to Cinemax as the network began ramping up its original programming.

The network's scripted push (more on that shortly) begins this Friday with the premiere of "Strike Back," an adaptation of a British action series in which an American special-ops agent unites with an elite British military unit for a series of globetrotting adventures. A show based on the "Transporter" film franchise will also follow.

Cinemax plans on developing Friday night as its flagship evening of programming, using similarly themed movies as a lead-in.


True Blood: Full Show Tracker coverage

TCA 2011: 'True Blood' creator Alan Ball to return for a fifth season

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Anna Paquin and Alexander Skarsgard on "True Blood." Credit: HBO



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